Sunday, December 28, 2008

Promotional Interview with Lisa Burke

Your Name:

Lisa Burke

1. Where you are from and where are you now?

Connecticut and Connecticut, respectively.

2. How did you get started writing?

I'm not quite sure how it happened really. My father is a writer, and my parents are both avid readers, so I think their influence preceeded any conscious decision I made to express myself via pen. I think when I was young, I put a few things on paper and thought it resonated more than a lot of other things I'd read and went on from there.

3. What do you do when you are not writing?

I'm mentally hyper and physically lazy. I enjoy hedonistic pleasures like sleeping, eating, internet and love, but when I am able to motivate myself I enjoy spending time with animals, jogging, yoga and exploring buddhism.

4. What would readers like to know about you?

I would like readers to know that my book may writing might be a little different than what they're going to get on the shelves of Borders. That, of course, can be a good or a bad thing, but I hear the theme in this country is "change", so I'm jumping on that bandwagon too.

5. What inspired your first book?

My divorce. Somehow I had to work out the trauma and the only control I had was through my characters.

6. How many books have you written?

Just one!

7. What are the titles of your books and what genres are they?

The Invisible Visitor - General Fiction

8. How do you decide on that topic or genre? Why are you specially qualified to write about this topic?

A good portion of my book is about a young woman's neurosis and guilt. I've lived it, so I'll let that be my qualification!

9. How do you manage to keep yourself focused and on track when you’re writing a book?

Although I am notorious for starting things and not finishing them, since my husband left me two years ago, this novel was my only purpose in life. If I abandoned it I would be abandoning myself. Now, writing is what gives me a good part of my identity. After being in an unfulfilling job for ten years, I welcome a purpose in life and would never betray it.

10. Do you write to make money, for the love of writing or both?

For the love of writing. What artist does it for the money? If they do, I imagine they made a poor vocational choice!

11. What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used? Which were the
most successful?

I have promotional postcards, a website and promotional bookmarks. As my novel is not in print at the moment, I will also venture to do some book signings, hopefully a blog tour, and maybe interviews with local papers. It's too soon to say which one will work best!

12. What are some unique methods of marketing you have used? Which were the most successful?

I've thought about donating copies of my book to prisons.

13. Do you sell through a website? If so, what’s the address? If not, why not?

I have a website, which contains a link to where my book can be purchased.

14. Where can people order your books? and soon

15. What format are your books – e-book, print, audio etc?

There is an e-book and print option to purchase.

16. Will you write more books?

Yes, hopefully!

17. What do you have in the works now?

I have been bobbing a novel in my head for a while now about jealousy and how it destroys people, but I can't seem to work the characters out. I know that they are currently not likeable, and won't hold a reader's attention. I think this is because my own jealousy makes me into a wretched wench, and the object of my desires is mutated into a demon when he is translated into print. I also have a few articles in mind, one called "A Virgin in Pornography" which would journal my experiences into viewing pornography, which I find morally repugnant. Hopefully there would be a moral at the end. I'm a little afraid of that one though.

18. What does the future hold for you and your books?

Um, great things of course!

19. What was the most successful thing you did to promote your books?

Tell my friends! I'm an extremely private person, so this was actually a big step for me.

20. What was the least successful thing you did to promote your books?

So far, no one is reading my blog that I can see.

21. Tell us about your most recent book.

A lonely woman in her early thirties, Nora Maloney believes she is responsible for the mysterious teenaged death of her childhood love, Stuart. She can no longer handle the guilt and knows that the only way out is to overdose on pills.

Too bad things don’t work out as she planned. Instead of winding up dead, she wakes up to a crass but thoughtful, eccentric but witty guardian angel named Cassock, who tries various tough love tactics to open her eyes to the possibility of happiness that lay before her. This unlikely angel tests Nora’s character by frightening her with terrible visions and experiences, but in the good name of regeneration.

22. What makes this book special to you?

The Invisible Visitor is semi-autobiographical. It is a tale of hope and forgiveness. It got me through such a terrible time, and I am forever greatful to it. If I don't sell copy one, it has still made me rich with hope for the future.

23. What sort of comments have you gotten about the content of the book?

I have been told it is witty and the dialogue is compelling.

24. What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?

Again, it's different. You'll cross metaphysical boundaries and swoon at the turn of a phrase.

25. What people NEED to read this book and WHY?

Much of modern fiction is not in tune for independent, artistic 20-35 year olds. I feel my work fills a niche, but very present, market.

26. What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own

I like to read others' work, just a phrase or title, that sounds really brilliant, and then move forward with it as if it was my own. Complete the story, change the title to something original or scrap the phrase, and I'm all set. I also like random word generators. Also, red wine fueled most of The Invisible Visitor. I kept a goal of 1,500 words per day and almost always met it. However, everyone has their own ways that work for them.

27. What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?

As I've alluded to before, I think a power complex makes people want to write fiction. That, or those who just feel out of control in their own lives, or are simply uber-creative. You can create new worlds with your own hands, nix boundaries and societal obligations and rules. What on Earth is better than that? Aside from being a parent or surgeon, this is as close to being God as you can get.

28. Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books?

Nothing unusual as of yet! I was thinking about taking out a local television ad, but I think I'm too shy.

29. If a potential reader thinks that your book wouldn't interest them, what would you say to convince them to buy? I'm thinking something better than "Its the greatest book ever." Give me something more specific :)

This book will give you a new perspective on something. It may be a new look at guilt, a new look at the meaning of life, or new sympathy for very messed up people. Regardless of your outlook, this novel is guaranteed to change your thinking one way or the other.

30. Why does the topic of your book interest you? Why would it interest potential readers? Give us a hook to reel in new readers.

I am always interested in finding my purpose and working through current fears and make something constructive out of my life. This book shows how one woman could rise from the ashes of a childhood tragedy and regain her faith in humankind, and more importantly, herself.

This interview was done in conjunction with Nikki Leigh, author of the Book Promo 101 series and owner of Promo 101 Virtual Blog Tours. For more information, visit – and

Kindred Spirits by Marilyn Meredith

1 - How did you get interested in the topic that’s featured in your book?

In Kindred Spirits, the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, Tempe visits Crescent City where she becomes friends with a murder victim’s sister and a good friend. Both these women are Tolowa.

I made a visit to Crescent City several years ago where I met a fascinating Tolowa woman who told me a lot about the Tolowa people’s history and their legends. I’d never heard of the Tolowa before. What I learned is the entire Tolowa nation was nearly wiped out through vicious attacks on the men, women and children. Though information about the Tolowa is not the main thrust of the story, much is added as flavor.

2 - Tell us a bit about your background. What have you done in the past that relates to your book and that topic?

Primarily, I am a writer. This is the eighth book in the series and my heroine, Tempe Crabtree, is a Yanduchi, part of the Tule River Indians. The more I’ve written about her, the more I’ve learned about the Native Americans who live on the Tule River Reservation near me–and I’ve renamed the Bear Creek Indian Reservation in my books.

As a writer, I’ve been invited to speak to the local college’s anthropology class and I’ve gone on a field trip with this class to places on the reservation that aren’t known to the general public. One thing I always remind everyone is, I borrow a lot from our local native people and the reservation, but primarily, I’m writing fiction.

I’ve done a lot of research about our local Indians and I have tremendous respect for their spirit and determination despite the hardships and prejudice they’ve been subjected to through the years. And I’m excited about their generosity to the community now that their casino and other businesses have become successful.

3 - What advise would you give to someone who is interested in your topic?

Anyone who writers about Native Americans needs to be respectful and do enough research to present an honest picture.

4 - What do you see as the benefit to participating in groups and organizations? My first thought would be networking opportunities and the chance for personal and business growth. What are your reasons?

I belong to many groups and organizations. I am a member and serve on the board of the Public Safety Writers Association and have gained much knowledge about law enforcement and the people who have chosen this profession because of this membership. I have several fans of both my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series and my Rocky Bluff P.D. series in this group.

I am a member of four chapters of Sisters in Crime, my local San Joaquin chapter, Central Coast chapter, the L.A. chapter, and the Internet chapter–of which I’m the president. I’m also a member of Mystery Writers of America, Epic, and Writers of Kern. All of these organizations have listserves which offer a lot of ongoing helpful information. Of course there are all kinds of networking and promotional opportunities. I also attend various conventions and conferences sponsored by these groups. I’ve made life-long friends with members of all these organizations.

5 - Who is the ideal person to read your book? If each person that reads this was going to recommend your book to one person, what sort of person would they want to choose?

First, the ideal person to read Kindred Spirits should be someone who loves mysteries and especially mysteries with a Native American flavor. If someone is looking for a fast moving story with plenty of excitement, they should like my books.

6 - What do you think ignites a person’s creativity?

For an author, it could be almost anything. Meeting Junie Mattice and listening to her stories about the Tolowa people living in and around Crescent City certainly ignited my imagination and I wanted to find a way for Tempe to visit Crescent City and mingle with some Tolowa women with the same sort of dynamic personality as Junie’

7 - What have you found to be the biggest stumbling block for people who want to start writing?

Too many people I run into who want to write will tell you the whole story of what they want to write and have yet to put down a single word. Also, a person who wants to write needs to be a reader–reading the kind of books he or she wants to write.

8 - How would you suggest they can overcome that?

The reading part is easy, go to the library and check out the kind of books similar to what they want to write and read, read, read. Pay attention to how the story is constructed, what makes a chapter, how the dialogue moves the story along, how the writing is balanced between action, dialogue and narrative. Take notes. Go to a writers conference. Take notes. Start writing. Write, write, write. When you’re done, rewrite.

9 - What do you find is the biggest motivator for people to succeed? Is it money, security, desire for fame or something else?

I don’t know about others, but I do know if money was my primary motivator I would have given up long ago. My primary motivator is finding out what my heroine is going to do next. I have to write–I can’t imagine life without writing.

10 - Who is the “perfect” person to read your book?

Anyone who likes a good mystery and wants to be entertained.

11 - Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I’d like to thank you for doing this, Nikki, for all of us authors. Marilyn

Sunday, December 14, 2008

In Detail With Russell A Vassallo

1. Tell us the book title and your author name.

The book title is Streetwise: Mafia Memoirs and it was written by Russell A. Vassallo.

2. What inspired the book?

My early days in Newark, NJ were filled with mobsters and tough guys. By the time I was twenty I had almost been killed twice in mob-related incidents. After recounting these stories to my wife as a routine part of living in Newark, she convinced me that they were anything but routine and should be captured in a novel. Hence, Streetwise is a memoir of my connections with the Mafia and my grandfather’s affiliation with that organization.

3. What makes this book special to you?

For one thing it recalls a lot of my younger days in Newark NJ and the colorful people I was privileged to know. For another it reminds me of how lucky I am to be age seventy-four and able to write. When I was sixteen a drunken man lined me up against the wall because I had been tossing firecrackers in the air. He thought I was shooting at him.

4. What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?

Streetwise: Mafia Memoirs is a totally different kind of Mafia book. Most books of this genre focus on the violence of the Mafia and the business end while my book delves into the characters and personalities of the men who shared that occupation. The Mafia didn’t always succeed at what it did and when it failed the results were usually humorous. For example, the hijacking of a truck that was supposed to be loaded with expensive furs and turned out to be filled with slaughtered beef.

It is a personal recounting of my experiences within a Mafia-connected family and the power that came with that connection. It is also a personal recollection of how dangerous such an association can be. Reviewers tell me it’s a one-of-a-kind-book.

5.What people NEED to read this book and WHY?

Streetwise is a book for general audiences. I would think that women who like biography would enjoy this book even though it’s a male-oriented book. One chapter deals with my efforts to save a young prostitute from a life of drugs and orgies and the resultant warning from the local Don when I interfered in his business.

Men especially would enjoy this book. It’s a power book. In a sense its an adult book, but today, adult can mean many things. Generally any audience that has mature reading interest will be fascinated by what I have to say… by what I have experienced.

6. What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?

Even when I am far from a typewriter I am writing. The thoughts flood into my mind no matter where I am and often, something I see reminds me of a past experience and I go back in time. I told my wife recently that once I get the first and last lines, the remainder of the story is already written. I tend to write in a straight line because I am dealing with personal experiences.

This was the case with Streetwise. I was reading a book that mentioned the legal execution of a man who had murdered a local gambler in my neighborhood and I mentioned to my wife that I was less than six feet away when that occurred. She slapped me on the arm and said: “When are you going to start writing?” That night I did.

Tips for sparking creativity? Write that first line. Sleep on it. Ask yourself what if… And let your character dictate the story to you because you know him, know what he will do, know how he will interact with other characters. Let your character take you to a point and then employ the fork-in-the-road approach. What if this happened, but what would happen if the other thing happened. Struggle for that tantalizing first sentence and finish leaving the reader wanting more.

7. What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to0 get into this unusual industry?

Certainly not the money. Writing is probably one of the lowest paying professions out there. No, I think people become authors for a number of reasons. They need to express themselves. They need recognition from others? They want to feel their lives have been worthwhile and should be preserved somehow. They like the feeling of having accomplished something. I know when I won my awards for my first two books I was filled with tremendous pride that I had proven I could write.

8. Tell me about the most unusual thing you have done to promote any books?

About the only thing I haven’t done is go door-to-door and I don’t intend doing that. I do have a friend who did. Our routine is pretty usual. We talk about our books wherever we go. We speak at various organizations. We entice bookstores with profit potential. But I don’t think we’re doing anything more than what we have read about in promotion-type books.

9. Why are you the BEST person to write this book? What is your background or in your research makes you qualified to do justice to this topic?

There is no one better to write this book because I lived each and every day of it. It was my family that was involved in Mafia activities and it was me who witnessed some of the events that unfolded.

10. If a potential reader thinks that your book wouldn’t interest them, what would you say to convince them to buy?

I’d tell them that it’s not just another Mafia book and that it recounts personal experiences within the organization that I personally witnessed. People are enamored to know that I was part of a dreaded organization, even if only9 on the fringes. And I would tell them that it’s a book written from personal experience. No fluff.

11. Why does the topic of your book interest you? Why would it interest potential readers?

For one thing it involves my past days among people I loved and who I saw in a very different way than the law viewed them. So my interest is born of family ties and the power that came with being family-connected. It would be of particular interest to people because they’d finally have met someone who was part of a feared organization and survived to tell the tale.

12. Is there a way to tie your book topic to current events?

Everyone believes the Mafia is dead and gone and that the federal government ended it with convictions in the Pizza Connection. The fact is that the prosecution of the Italian Mafia splintered the criminal world into a number of Mafia organizations that are much more ruthless than the Sicilian Mafia ever was. There is now a Mexican, a Chinese, a Russian, an Irish, a Dominican Mafia as well as others. Where once the Italian Mafia had rules that excluded civilians and political figures from being targeted, the other Mafias are actually savage. They have no compunction about executing innocent bystanders or political figures. There is a host of unsolved murders of judicial and law enforcement officials that in all probability trace to one of these Mafia groups.

Few will deny that with the absence of the Mafia from Las Vegas, the city has taken a decided turn downward. Gangs now roam the streets. Drunks and the homeless lay in gutters not far from glittering palaces. Con men abound. None of this occurred when the Sicilian mafia controlled Las Vegas. Crime abounds in a town where the Mafia once get order. Law enforcement is unable to accomplish the same rule of law because their hands are tied by civil rights organizations and the so-called liberal weeping willows of the criminal world.

My book is tied to every episode of mob violence that occurs on an almost daily basis.

CL Talmadge - Before I Was Published

I decided to be a writer when I realized, in my late teens/early twenties, that I had no other discernible skill except writing. That pretty much narrows one's career focus. Also, since the age of 13, I had been
day-dreaming about this love story between in prince in peril from his father and the woman he loves who has mysterious healing skills and
abilities. I wanted very much to write the story.

My writing career began in 1976, when I was hired as associate editor for the oldest weekly newspaper on Long Island in New York, The Suffolk County

From there I went on to report and copyedit for several daily newspapers, including the Las Vegas Sun, the Orange County Register, and the Dallas
Times Herald
. I then became an editor for Adweek/Southwest, an advertising-marketing weekly trade publication. While at Adweek I picked up freelance assignments for Business Week, Forbes, and the business section of The New York Times, among other media.

I left fulltime journalism in 1989 to write a nonfiction book about a method of emotional and spiritual healing resolution that I ended up self-publishing in 1999. I did odd freelance writing gigs, but was not very good at developing a network of contacts to find more steady assignments.
Two years later I became a staff writer for a broker-/dealer, a job that lasted until I was laid off in 1994.

I returned to freelance writing and added freelance pr to my resume as well-all the while still thinking about the story from my teen years, which by this time had grown to include four generations of women. I finally started writing in earnest in 1998, and a decade later have published the first three novels in what grew to be the Green Stone of Healing(R) epic
fantasy series.

I am close to completing the fourth book, and hope to publish it in 2009 while working on Book Five.

Teel James Glenn Talks About His Book Promotion

Interview with Teel James Glenn

  1. Where are you from and where are you now?

I’m a Brooklyn boy, born and bread in Flatbush, though as I often point out—I am from Flatbush, not of it. I think of myself as more of a citizen of the world. Though I didn’t get far-I live in Union City New Jersey right now just across the tunnel from Manhattan.

  1. How did you get started writing?

I started writing as far back as I can remember filling notebooks in grammar school with ‘comic books’ of adventure characters.

  1. What do you do when not writing?

I fall down, or get stabbed or set on fire. I am a stunt man and fight choreographer who is a sword expert. I do plays, TV and films (lots of low budget late night drinking party watching films).

  1. What would readers like to know about you?

That I believe in heroes. Not just believe, I actively live my life trying to see the positive, not ignoring the negative, but choosing to operate ‘in the light.’ And so do my characters. I don’t want to spend any more time with ‘villains’ than needed to tell the story-I’m sick of the idea that the badguy is always more interesting dramatically-I thinks that’s not true if you really find the humanity in your hero.

  1. What inspired your first book?

I had a summer writing course in high school and we were supposed to write a short story each week-I talked my teacher into letting me do a ‘novel- a four chapter book (which by the way I rewrote as a novella some thirty five years later and it saw print!)

  1. How many books have you written?

To date I’ve written eighteen books, most of them in the last three years since I committed to writing as a career.

7. What are the titles of your books and in what genres?

The published or contracted books are:

The World of Altiva fantasy series books are: Death at Dragonthroat, Tales of a Warrior Priest, The Daemonhold Curse, Sister Warrior and the forth coming The Daemonhold Inheritance. (All from

The Exceptionals Sci Fi Thriller series books are: The Measure of a Man, Across theWasteland and On the Good Ship Caligula (From

The Dr. Shadows pulp detective/mystery books set in the 1930s are: A Hex of ShadowsShadows in Hong Kong (both due out from Epress-online late in o8 and 09.) and

And the first books of two series:

Vision Quest Factor (Sci Fi) and Knight Errant: Death ad Life at the Faire (Murder mystery)

Lastly: Them Fightin’ Words: A writer’s Guide to Writing Fight Scenes is a nonfiction book from Epress-Online where I give away some of my tricks.

8. How do you decide on a topic or genre and why are specifically qualified to write on that topic.

My stories always start with a character or two—the theme or genre actually comes later, in fact I ‘ve had characters shift genre’s on me when they wanted (Yes I think of them as alive). And I never write about something I have not experienced or researched very deeply—my varied background in my ‘other job’ has helped with that.

9. How do you manage to keep yourself focused when writing a book?

When I’m starting a book I have to really focus in—until the movie in my mind is running full bore-then nothing can distract me-I write while walking down the street, eating, talking with people—once I’m rolling I’m a ‘writing machine.’

10. Do you write to make money for the love of writing or both?

I write to be read-otherwise I could just fantasize the stories and be done with it. I want money for my writing so I can afford the time to write to be read by more people. Would I write for free? I might tell my stories for free at a gathering of friends but , no- as Robert Parker once said when Mickey Spillane referred to readers as ‘customers’—“That’s right, we ain’t giving it away for free!”

11. What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used. Which are most successful?

I am absolutely no judge of this—I haven’t sold enough for long enough to be able to tell you.

12. What are some unique methods you’ve used? Which are most successful?

Again, not a clue but I hope to have soon.

13. Do you sell through a website? What’s the address, if not why?

I refer people to the publisher’s website or Fictionwise or Amazon—I am not web savy enough to run my own site though someday I’d like to.

14. Where can people order your books?

My books are all available on Fictionwise or Amazon or from the publishers directly. Just goggle my name and I shall appear!

15. What format are your books in? E Book, Print or Audio?

So far both my publishers (and those of the anthology I have a story in) do both print and e versions. Hopefully audio books will follow.

16. Will you write more books?

Try to stop me!

17.What do you have in the works?

I just finished the Third Exceptionals novel and am about to launch into the fifth Altiva novel but I may take a little break to do some short form detective fiction I have a contemporary character Jeremiah Falcon that has been flying around in my consciousness waiting for a landing strip.

18.What does the future hold for you and your books?

I would like to do an illustrated version of some of my work—and a collection called Visions of Altiva-I am a painter/illustrator as well- which would explore the world visually. And The Exceptionals was originally conceived as a TV series and I’d love to shoot it—I did do a pilot trailer for it which I later recut into the book trailer.

19. What is the most successful thing you’ve done to promote your books?

Getting reviews, I would think—I did a lot of research and went after reviewers for my last few books and I think it has helped get the word out. That and making sure the books really were the best thing I could do and had my heart in them—I think the word gets out if you do that.

20.What is the least successful?

I don’t know—it is hard to gage-probably the writers groups I belong to—I don’t think most writers have the money to buy a heck of lot of the competition’s wares. But I might be wrong.

21. Tell us about your most recent work.

The first Exceptionals book: The Measure of a Man came out in May and has been doing well, was in fact the best seller for Whiskey Creek Press. It is about bio-enhanced bounty hunters in the year 2030 whose identities are protected by UN mandate.

22.what makes this book special?

It is my take on realistic ‘superheroes’ filtered through political science and current technology. And a way to examine just what it is, philosophically that makes a person risk their lives to do what they perceive is right. When I created the world of the Exceptionals in 1998 with my writing partner Jerry, we imagined terrorists attacking the World Trade Center in 2010. We were off by years but a lot of the world we foresaw is happening, and maybe will happen.

23.What sort of comments have you gotten about the contents of this book?

It has been doing well, a best seller for Whiskey Creek Press and spent a couple of weeks at number 17 out of 4400 at fictionwise. And one of the reviews at Simply Romance reviews said, in part:

“…The Exceptionals is a great book and the start of what I hope to be a long series in the science fiction/thriller suspense genre. The authors fictional world set in the mid 21st century is so vivid and compelling you find yourself believing that this reality of the world actually exists. Teel James Glenn and Jerry Kokich have created a great fictional world for their Exceptionals and I for one can't wait to return.”

24. What makes this a book other people must read and why?

It offers hope for that darker world to come and deals with some eternal issues about life, its meaning, purpose and direction. And the action is darn good.

25. What people need to read this book?

Anyone who loves adventure writing, strong women characters and political thrillers.

26. What sparks your creativity? And any tips for others to help them spark theirs?

I can get my inspiration from anything—A tv show that I didn’t like the plot twist and so see it going another way—or one I liked so much I want to do my version of it. A book I read, an article. Or some location I think a character should go to. As to sparking others’ creativity—just be open it comes at you from all sides. Just pick one and go with it.

27. What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?

I think it is the same motivation that the firs story tellers had sitting around a campfire—they have something to say- about themselves, the state of the world or some hope they need to express. It is easier now than ever to get your story out there—less of a monolithic new York tower to climb so more people are taking the plunge-which is good in many ways but bad in the sense that there are so many voices now that it is hard to be heard even if you do have something to contribute.

As for me—I have always wanted to share my stories with people. One of my biggest thrills is reading my work ( ala Dickens) at conventions. I do story telling at Ren faires and to know my work can touch people is a tremendous feeling. It is a hard industry, however, and so I have had to work to become a craftsman as well as a storyteller and that is the stage, I am afraid many new authors don’t embark on—it is the hardest part.

28. What is the most unusual thing you have done to promote your books?

Let people hit me in the head with pipes. On screen. The book trailer I did for Measure of a Man, culled from the TV pilot has me being bashed about quite a bit. And I do a lecture demo for Them’s Fightin’ Words that has a bunch of that in it.

29. If a potential reader wasn’t interested in this book what could you say to convince them to read it?

If they aren’t hooked by the first page I’d be surprised. It starts off at a dead run and doesn’t stop; the characters, even the bad guys- are people you can relate to.

30. Why does this topic interest you and why would a reader want to read it?

The search for meaning is universal and ultimately that is what all my work is about—that and the search for love to give life meaning. Even heroes need love

Purple Snowflake Marketing – How to Make Your Book Stand Out in a Crowd

Purple Snowflake Marketing – How to Make Your Book Stand Out in a Crowd (2007; Dave & Lillian Brummet)
1 - How did you get interested in the topic that’s featured in your book?
Lillian: Actually, you might laugh at this, but we were so inundated with questions via email or through forums on marketing and managing a career in writing that we were often called "marketing gurus" and I’ve even been given the title of the “pink bunny” because our marketing endeavors just keep going, and going… J It was around this time that I was feeling like a good portion of my time was spent simply responding to the questions by others and realized that an e-book based on our personal marketing plan would be perfect for everyone involved.
2 - Tell us a bit about your background. What have you done in the past that relates to your book and that topic?
Lillian: The Purple Snowflake Marketing book is really a compilation of knowledge that Dave and I obtained through over 12 years of hands on experience as writers and business owners, tips we learned through writing courses, forums and conversations with others who write as a career. Dave and I have participated in numerous business courses which focused on organization, methodology and marketing. The e-book relays all of this information in a condensed format for the reader’s convenience.
3 - What advise would you give to someone who is interested in your topic?
Lillian: Few people realize the work that is involved in running a business. Those that do, know that you are putting in much more office time after the typical 8-hour day is over because of all the paper work, record keeping and book keeping duties. Having a career in writing is exactly the same - you are self-employed. So you must balance the office chores, marketing and communications with writing the next project. Sometimes this brings some conflict with others, we find they are assuming we have the time for this or that, when it is really quite the opposite. Or perhaps we have conflict with ourselves, because so many things around the home or family are allowed to take precedence. So I guess the best advice I could give anyone is to have self-discipline and create a balanced plan.
4 - What do you see as the benefit to participating in groups and organizations? My first thought would be networking opportunities and the chance for personal and business growth. What are your reasons?
Lillian: Authors, poets and storytellers are online doing research, gathering resources, garnering contacts and selling their wares – and that is our focus group for Purple Snowflake Marketing. As such, our marketing plan includes ample use of networking sites and writer’s groups to reach new contacts in this field. Writer’s groups or resource sites (e-newsletters & e-zines) are great places to consider for advertising if you are trying to reach this group.
5 - Who is the ideal person to read your book? If each person that reads this was going to recommend your book to one person, what sort of person would they want to chose?
Lillian: Well, this book is really a reference guide for self-marketing authors who want to be noticed in a snowstorm of writers – like a purple snowflake in a snowstorm. With 19 chapters and more than 500 resources in the 21 Appendices, this e-book is a means for authors to design an effective marketing plan and utilize frugal promotional tools with the click of their mouse. Whether it is utilized by order of chapters or randomly at the reader’s discretion the book is a marketing plan in itself. In fact, Purple Snowflake Marketing provides reassurance to authors along with ample advice for avoiding pit-falls and setting a comfortable pace for marketing endeavors. Writers within most genres will find this inspiring book an essential component for marketing their book in a way that suits their unique situation.
6 - What do you think ignites a person’s creativity?
Lillian: When it comes to a marketing plan, creativity is the key to survival. Just how do you plan to sell that particular project? Why is it so special among the thousands, or perhaps hundreds, of books or articles within that genre? How can you reach the intended audience, grab their attention and hold it? That is where creativity comes in.
7 - What have you found to be the biggest stumbling block for people who want to start writing?
Lillian: Sadly there is a real misconception in the world of writing that the author is taken care of, and just relaxes once the book is written. In fact people feel writers have a leisure life – which is, of course, far from the truth. 80% of a writer’s life is spent dealing with various aspects of marketing their wares. While that number might seem shocking, it is very true. The rest of the time they have to balance record keeping and writing the next project and dealing with finding a publisher or magazine for that new piece and so on. Writers do not have a 9-5 schedule with weekends, mornings and evenings free. Like most people who are self-employed, they write or market whenever the gigs come and in-between all of this, they have to balance the rest of their life such as family, spouses, household duties and, let’s not forget, taking care of themselves too! Sometimes it feels like a never-ending balancing act and a lot of people just are not prepared for that when they delve into writing. The only thing I can offer in the way of advice for this is simply to do your research, find a balance and be disciplined enough to keep that balance.
8 - What do you find is the biggest motivator for people to succeed? Is it money, security, desire for fame or something else?
Lillian: I think for most people their motivation is money and security, honestly. But there are a growing number of writers who write because they really do believe in the message they are trying to relay to their readers. For us, that message is that the individual truly has value, that they can make a real and measurable positive impact on the planet and their communities, and that the past can be both embraced and released. Passion is the one thing that will sell you, and your book, to your audience.
9 - Who is the “perfect” person to read your book?
Lillian: Authors, poets, freelancers and storytellers who want to reduce the number of rejections they receive, who want to learn how to save money and get noticed in a positive way will certainly benefit from this book.
11 - Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Lillian: Yes, definitely! Purple Snowflake Marketing is so well received that our publisher will be releasing a second edition in late 2008 with new information and a larger appendix section that offers an additional 200 marketing opportunities with a click of a mouse. Keep an eye on our blog or on the publishers site for more information ( Also, I would love for your readers to visit Dave and I at: There people will find our free newsletter and blog, a long list of free resources for greening the office, the home and eco-crafts for families. They can also find more information about all the things my husband and I do, including our 3 non-fiction books and our 2 radio shows. I think your readers would be very interested in one of those radio shows in particular – Authors Read, because on this show offers authors, storytellers and poets a chance to read from their published work for 10-12 minutes. There is nothing like hearing a story told the way the writer intended it to be read… straight from the writer's lips is even better!

Monday, December 8, 2008

CJ Scarlet Tells Us What Led to The Kindness Cure

It is said that each of us is fighting a heroic battle. My name is CJ Scarlet and this is my story. Since 1990, I have lived with Lupus and Scleroderma, both autoimmune diseases that left me with constant pain and debility. When I was told in 2002 that my disability had progressed into a life-threatening heart condition, life as I knew it ended with a sickening thud. My family quickly dove into denial, leaving me with no one to talk to about my fears. I was terrified!—of pain, of debility, of dying—and yet there was no one I could turn to for comfort and wisdom.

I spent the first year after my diagnosis completely freaking out, growing more isolated and angry as each day passed. Author Steven Levine says that most people die an “Oh, shit!” death—one of total shock and terror just before the car crashes or the heart attack turns deadly or the kidneys begin to fail. I was afraid that would be me. I went through the traditional stages of grief: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, and depression, but couldn’t move past them to the acceptance phase.

Part of the problem was that I had a dark past, marred by a series of traumatic events and tragic mistakes, and my death sentence felt like an apt ending to an unfulfilled life. Desperately ill, I struggled to make the best of my remaining time, but my overwhelming fear and misery overrode my attempts to be happy and robbed me of hope.

Then I had the opportunity to meet with a Tibetan lama for advice. I poured out my tale of woe, expecting the lama to shower sympathy and compassion on my deserving shoulders. Instead, he told me with loving ferocity to stop feeling sorry for myself and start focusing on the happiness of others. I argued that I was too sick to help myself, let alone other people, but the lama insisted. Although I had been a victims’ advocate for years, I had been so focused on my own suffering, that I had become oblivious to the needs of others. So I began as I could, with small acts of kindness, such as saying a prayer when an ambulance passed by and letting people go ahead of me in the checkout line at the grocery store. I bought a tank of gas for a woman whose husband had lost his job so she could get to work the next day. I spent long hours on the phone with a friend who was going through a difficult time. I did everything I could within my limited abilities to think about and act for the happiness of others. I also began to practice an ancient prayer technique called Tonglen (that I teach my clients) that helped me to transform my fears and anger into gratitude and peace, and even decreased the pain I experienced.

Gradually, I noticed that every time I did something nice for someone else, I felt a small rush of happiness. At the physiological level, the “happy endorphins” my body created in response to each act lowered my blood pressure, regulated my breathing, and reduced the stress chemicals that were so deadly to me. I began to notice that I had less pain and more energy.

I graduated to larger acts of generosity—co-signing on a car loan for a young woman so she could secure a job and volunteering at the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina. I became even happier, and the happier I became, the better I felt, until I reached a state of such emotional healing that it no longer mattered whether I lived or died—I was happy regardless of the obstacles I encountered or how much time I had left. In fact, if someone had offered me one more day to live feeling as I did at this point or ten more years feeling as I did before my diagnosis, I would choose that one precious day. Finally, I had reached the stage of acceptance and I was loving my life, every precious moment of it.

Then the most amazing thing happened; my condition began to reverse itself and today I feel better than I have in 20 years! I still have periods when I am laid low by my illness and I experience some cognitive impairment, but my happiness point is set so high now that I am unfazed by them. I will still die one day, as we all will, but the “when” is less important to me than the “how.” I am determined to die with the words, “I love you” on my lips and with the glow of joy and gratitude on my face.

Reaching such a stage of joyful acceptance is not only possible for you, but even more likely than for a person who is not facing a life-challenging illness. The fact is, your illness can be the gift that sets you free to live a life—and die a death—overflowing with happiness and gratitude.

For More Information

See What It’s All About -

We Invite You To Join the Kindness Cure Social Network And Share The Progress of the Kindness Cure -

For full details about the Kindness Cure Virtual Tour -

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friend Finder from Google

This is a beta test of a new application from Google. Let's all jump in and see what we can figure out. The idea is that you can add a social network to any site... We'll see.

Nikki Leigh

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mark Tewart Author of How To Be A Sales Superstar

Mark’s own words -

“For the last 15+ years I have been a professional speaker, trainer and consultant.

I work with multiple organizations in various industries in helping them to increase their sales to explode their bottom line profits.

My areas of expertise are sales, sales marketing, sales management, sales motivation and creating a superstar life.

I entered the sales field at nineteen and became one of the youngest executive managers in the country at twenty seven.

I have spoken to thousands of audiences, published hundreds of articles and newsletters and have been interviewed in numerous magazine and newspapers as well as appearing on a top ranked satellite training network for several years.

I am also the founder and President of three other companies that are involved in the fields of products sales, insurance and real estate.”

Mark’s Accomplishments and Credentials – His Qualifications to Write How to be a Sales Superstar
• Spoken to over 2,000 audiences since 1993
• Professional Member of the National Speakers Association
• President and founder of 3 successful companies
° Seminar, Speaking, Training and Consulting company
° Software company
° Direct Response Sales Event Company
• Markets and performs over 100 seminars per year
• Had top ranked TV show for several years
• Published Hundreds of Articles
• Published numerous training manuals
• Created and sold thousands of videos and audio products
• Moved from entry level sales position to General Manager of a multimillion dollar company by the age of 27

Mark Tewart is a renowned expert on sales, sales marketing, sales management and creating a high performance life. Mark is a motivational speaker, consultant, coach, entrepreneur and owner of four businesses, and author of "How To Be A Sales Superstar - Break All the Rules and Succeed While Doing It" published by Wiley which is available in book stores and Amazon. Mark has spoken to over 2,000 audiences in the last fifteen years. Also, Mark has published hundreds of articles in numerous trade magazines and authored numerous books, audios, videos and online training materials. Mark has had a top ranked Satellite TV show and been interviewed by magazines, newspapers, radio and TV shows across the world.

Mark Tewart’s websites include:, and

To read the first chapter of How to be a Sales Superstar and to receive several FREE bonuses from Mark Tewart, visit

Full tour details are posted at

This book can be ordered on

In Detail with Kevin Gerard

Tell us the book title and your author name.

The series title is Conor and the Crossworlds, book titles are as follows:

Breaking the Barrier

Peril in the Corridors

Surviving an Altered World

Charge of the Champions (October 2009)

The Author of All Worlds (October 2010)

My author name is Kevin Gerard

What inspired the series?

The creature I held in my mind for almost forty years. I used to daydream about Purugama, the flying cougar, when I was ten or eleven years old. He becomes Conor’s mentor and best friend in Book One: Breaking the Barrier. I love the fact that I kept him with me for so long and finally wrote a story about him.

What makes this series special to you?

Book Three has just been released. The story is real, it’s alive, and every character has become a living entity to me. There are a lot of good books around, but only a handful of great stories. Conor and the Crossworlds is a great story, and I won’t stop promoting it until the whole world has a chance to enjoy it.

The Champions of the Crossworlds are all giant cats who can talk and cast magical spells. They all have very distinct personalities; I have grown to love them deeply. Maya, the Lord of the Champions, was a real cat who lived next door to me in San Diego. He got killed by a pack of dogs one day, and I told his mistress I was going to make him immortal. If you knew Maya like I did, you would understand why I made him, an alley cat, the leader of the great wild cats – the Champions of the Crossworlds.

What makes this a series that other people MUST read and WHY?

I love great stories, and I love sci fi / fantasy. I love the escape it provides. The characters in this story are very compelling; you will grow to love them as much as I and others do. Conor’s journey through all five books gets wilder and more complex as you continue to read.

I wrote this series for kids, but people of all age groups seem to love it. Every school librarian tells me the same thing, that Conor and the Crossworlds is never on the library shelf. When a student returns a book, another student is with them wanting to check the book out. That’s a huge compliment to Conor and the Crossworlds.

What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?

I’m pretty twisted; it comes from being Irish I guess, so creativity has never been a problem for me. I finished writing the series two years ago, but I remember during the five years when I wrote it, I always thought about what was going on in the story. When I got up in the morning, went to bed at night, when I was teaching, driving, shopping, anything, I always had my mind on the story. So when I finally sat down to write I had oodles of thoughts ready to put down.

Another thing I always tell students at book talks is to write with abandon. I think everyone has creative juices, but as a college professor, I see how formal education stunts that part our minds. The cool thing about fantasy writing is that you just make everything up, and if you can do that, why would want to restrict your mind? Look at Conor’s arch enemy in his pristine form (he’s a shape-shifter). How could I have come up with a freak like that – a beetle head with squid legs and no torso, but he’s wearing an English waistcoat – if I was restraining my creativity at all?

I guess the secret is just sitting down and letting her rip, that’s what I always say. You have to trust yourself and the story. Your characters will tell you where to go at the next bend in the road. So write with abandon!

What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?

For me it was getting past the “favorite time to write” syndrome. I’m a morning person, so naturally I love to write in the morning. If you’ve made a commitment to write every day, though, things might get in the way of your morning writing time.

I had to learn that any time of day was good for writing. I also had to learn that any amount of time was good as well. I would e-mail sections of books to myself and when I found a spare half hour, I would locate a computer, download the story and write for thirty minutes. I found that with a limited amount of time I could fulfill my daily page requirement as easily as when I had all morning.

What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?

The direction my life was headed, the direction the country was headed, and the fact that I’ve always felt I was put on the earth to do something special, I mean something really spectacular. I wanted to make a contribution to the world, and writing seemed to be a way of accomplishing that.

Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books?

I’ll tell you something I’m about to do – I’m about to make a big sign that says, “NBC doesn’t like teen readers,” and walk around downtown San Diego with it. I have this great promotion coming up, The Hunt for the Five Keys of the Creators, and I’ve been bugging the local news stations to put it on the air. Unfortunately I haven’t made much progress. Check it out on my website – – it’s going to be awesome, but I can only spread the word so much doing book talks. I want all the kids in San Diego to be able to hunt for the key I’ve hidden here, so I need TV coverage. I think they’ll get the message if I make my sign and show everyone in downtown San Diego how I feel.

I spent the summer making data files of every middle school in America, and right now I’m calling every librarian to introduce the series. I call, talk for a bit, ask if I can send an e-mail, and then I send it. So far I’ve contacted about ten states. Should take me until about March or April to finish my lists I think.

I do book talks everywhere, but mostly in Southern California. I’ve been to Mississippi, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and I’m going to Oregon, New Mexico, NevadaMissouri in the next few months. Book talks are more fun than anything else, middle school kids are great! and

I’m all over MySpace, and I think it’s a very good tool. Every time I see a new teen librarian, I send them a message asking if they would like some free book posters for their teen room. It costs me about ten bucks to send them. One day I contacted a librarian at a college, it turned out that this month was fantasy fiction month and every woman at the college was into fantasy adventure books. So I sent copies of books and posters and I get to be featured in their month long festival.

I’m also involved in a Blog Tour with Nikki Leigh. I think she’s got her finger on the pulse of viral marketing. The internet has such massive potential, so I’m excited about seeing what she can accomplish.

FICTION - If there is a setting, tell us how you decided on that setting and what you did to create a complete and vivid setting for your readers?

I chose the Crossworlds as my setting because it is infinite. It is an endless series of worlds of light and darkness where anything can happen. What could be better than that for a fantasy writer?

There are four main venues that Conor and the other characters populate from time to time.

The realm of the creators is the home of the Council of Seven, a group of creators emeritus who oversee the Crossworlds. It is a place of unparalleled beauty and wellbeing. It is where Conor and the Champions go to rejuvenate themselves and prepare for battle.

The Glade of Champions is the world where the giant protectors of the Crossworlds live. Heavily forested and filled with lakes and small hills where the great cats can sun themselves, this is where Conor first meets Purugama’s brothers.

Earth – Conor lives there with his family in Northern California. His girlfriend Janine, introduced in Book Three, also lives there.

The Shadow World is the home of the Circle of Evil. The destroyers; Drazian, Gandron, Fumemos, Seefra, Pikiwik Loff, and the horrible assassin Nemelissi all stage their attacks in this place. Zelexa, the Lady of the Shadows, controls this world along with the three arcs of the ruling body.

All of these settings become interchangeable throughout the story. Destroyers come to earth, Conor and Champions go to the Shadow World, the realm of the creators is attacked by the Circle of Evil, and so on. I think the one thing that makes the Crossworlds unique is the aspect of organic life. Almost everything in the Crossworlds is organic, including the corridors, transmission portals used to travel to other worlds. They are living beings, and as you walk through them you can feel their presence.

FICTION - What inspires you about the hero or heroine in your book? What makes them memorable for the reader? What motivates the hero and/or heroine? You can include information about both if you want.

I like Conor because he is a good kid. He doesn’t swear, do drugs, or treat people badly (unless they have it coming). He is, however, a young man bursting with curiosity. There’s also something that only I know about Conor. The rest of you will have to wait until the end of Book Four to find out. All I’ll say at this point is there’s a reason the creators sent Purugama to Conor in the first book, and it’s not the reason stated in the story.

Conor’s girlfriend Janine becomes a heroine in her own right. She enters the story in Book Three, and before she knows it, she becomes quite involved in the Crossworlds. Like Conor, she’s a good kid, and also smart, athletic, and adventurous.

Both of them are pretty fearless. Things get pretty scary as they get deeper and deeper into the Crossworlds, but they always answer the call and step into the next adventure.

FICTION - Is there a villain or something that causes friction in your story? Tell us about what or who it is and how that contributes to the story. Any details about conflict and friction is good information to know.

The Circle of Evil has four levels of combatants; destroyers, shadow warriors, slayers and keepers. The destroyers are the most powerful, and Conor gets to do battle with them one on one pretty regularly.

Seefra is Conor’s nemesis throughout the story. He is the leader of the destroyers and very powerful. He can shape shift himself and his environment. He really causes the most friction in the story, because he keeps popping up to bother Conor (and Janine).

There’s a whole group of destroyers, however, and each is quite compelling in his own right. Fumemos is a formless entity who uses the elements of nature to fashion monsters with which to attack Conor. On one planet he hides in the ocean waiting for Conor to approach and then uses the seawater and sand to create a monster that attacks him.

In Book Five, Conor has to do battle with the most horrible destroyer of all, Nemelissi the assassin. Nemelissi is one sick creature. It lives to kill, and does so in some very amazing ways.

For example, it can vomit red hot lava all over its enemies – WhEw!

If there's anything else you would like to share, this is the time and place.

Thank you for visiting with me and in closing, give us your website address and a link to order your book.

Conor’s Website

Youtube Video - Hunt for the Five Keys of the Creators


Conor and the Crossworlds Contest

Visit his website and click on the contest video for exciting details regarding The Hunt for the Five Keys of the Creators which begins in January

Website Address:

Primary Blog: